Environment minister: We will not risk sustainability in Andros

Environment minister: We will not risk sustainability in Andros
Minister of Housing and the Environment, Romauld Ferreira (file photo)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Andros cannot be developed “at the risk of sustainability” according to Environment and Housing Minister Romauld Ferreira.

Ferreira was speaking at the eighth annual Andros Business Outlook.

He noted that the island has the largest deposits of aragonite in the country.

A proposed multi-million dollar project that would require aragonite mining in Morgan’s Bluff, Andros, has been met with opposition from some Androsians and environmentalists.

The North Andros Green Free Trade Zone project would be modeled after the 1955 Hawksbill Creek Agreement – which gives the Grand Bahama Port Authority responsibility for the development, administration, and management in the Port Area.

The project proposes the development of an air-sea manufacturing/commercial park; a 10,000-foot international runway and terminal, with police, customs, emergency services, and immigration; and a deep water international port, also with law enforcement.

However, a critical part of the project would include the processing and manufacturing of limestone from the development and aragonite harvesting from the Joulter Cays Sand Bank area.

According to Ferreira, there is currently a moratorium on mining, with a draft Mining Act presently with the Office of the Attorney General.

“That draft Mining Act speaks to aragonite,” he said.

“The legislation contemplates not to allow for aragonite extraction in marine parks.”

Ferreira continued: “Andros has the largest deposits of aragonite in our country,”. He further noted that if extracted it could take decades to be replenished.

“We cannot develop Andros at the risk of sustainability. Integrated resource management is essential and this is why I emphasized over and over again that before we begin to exploit the resources of Andros to develop its economy, we have to understand what we are dealing with and the science behind. Bahamians have a very important role to play and all Androsians do.

“We need an economy that works for the betterment of everyone but most of all one of which we can all be proud,” said Ferreira.